America Is Safer Than It Used to Be. So Why Do We Still Have Calls for ‘Law and Order’?

By its own historical standards, America circa 2016 is a safe place. The country’s violent crime rate is about half of what it was in 1991. Cities, in particular, have become markedly less dangerous. Less than half as many police officers are killed in the line of duty today as […] Read more »

Presidential job approval ratings from Ike to Obama

Perhaps no measure better captures the public’s sentiment toward the president than job approval. … We looked at Pew Research Center data going back to Bill Clinton, and Gallup data going back to Dwight Eisenhower. These ratings reflect, for example, how views of presidents have become more politically polarized, as […] Read more »

1968: Ball of Confusion

If you lived through 1968, you can’t forget it — even if you want to. It was the worst of times, a year from hell, marked by savage warfare in Vietnam, political assassinations, urban riots, and militancy of all sorts. People talked seriously about whether the United States would hold together. […] Read more »

No Drama Obama

President Obama’s middling job approval rating has been quite steady over the last few months, devoid of much movement outside of the relatively subtle shifts seen from poll to poll. This is nothing new: Based on Gallup’s polling, Barack Obama’s approval rating has the smallest standard deviation of any modern […] Read more »

New research shows just how much presidents try to manipulate public opinion

The political scientists James Druckman and Lawrence Jacobs have just published a book, “Who Governs? Presidents, Public Opinion, and Manipulation.” Early reviews call it “a breakthrough” and “a fascinating study” whose “picture is not pretty.” I talked with Druckman and Jacobs about the book via e-mail. An edited version of […] Read more »

The Appeal of ‘Trump-ism’

Is the “silent majority” ready to roar again? Donald Trump thinks so. At his big rally in Phoenix recently, the bombastic businessman insisted: “The ‘silent majority’ is back, and we are going to take the country back.” Trump’s future in the GOP presidential race is uncertain after his churlish attacks […] Read more »